Career Resolutions for 2020

Martin Yate By Martin Yate January 7, 2020
smart phone, coffee cup, notebook with 2020 resolutions list

Best-selling author Martin Yate, a career coach and former HR professional, takes your questions each week about how to further your career in HR.

At this time of year, many of us resolve to become more successful, get a better job, win a promotion, and change jobs or careers. The next step is to harness those resolutions to activities and specific goals that move us incrementally forward. With realistic action plans, those dreams may materialize.

Careers don't happen in a vacuum. They evolve over decades of work. What was once an endless horizon of opportunity can stop abruptly at a dead end. The more carefully you plan and manage your career, the more successful you will be over the long haul.

Preparing for a Job or Career Change

Stay current with how your profession is being revolutionized by artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics, and how those changes are reflected in the skills employers are seeking; you'll be more secure in your current job and more desirable in the labor market. Here's how:

  • Connect with your profession. Active membership in the local chapter of your professional organization helps you stay current with changes likely to affect your job and career. At the same time, you get to know the most-committed and most-connected people in your immediate professional world. You should also join professionally relevant social media groups on sites like LinkedIn, read through the conversations, and ask questions. This increases your credibility and visibility and will broaden your professional networks. 
  • Know your market. Review job postings to identify all the possible employers in your area and the skills that are most in demand. Create a map of all the employers in your area, and know what each one is looking for.

Winning Promotions

In many companies, there is an inner circle of influencers and leaders and an outer circle of followers; you determine to which group you belong by your performance, attitude and behavior. If you see yourself standing in the outer circle and want to increase your chances of professional success, get to know the inner circle. Find out what behaviors the members of the inner circle hold in common, and remodel your professional persona accordingly.

Your demonstrated commitment to consistent skill development and becoming the best you can be while working for the company's common good will slowly but surely grant you membership to the inner circle, where job security, better assignments, raises and promotions can be had.

Gaining Long-Term Success

You are somewhere on the arc of an approximately 50-year work life. Most likely, the professional skills most critical to your long-term success and stability are also your weakest. Those skills include the ability to do the following:

Develop sharper career management skills, and you will be repaid with greater control over your professional future.

Have a question for Martin about advancing or managing your career? From big issues to small, please feel free to e-mail your queries to We'll only publish your first name and city, unless you prefer to remain anonymous—just let us know.

Packed with practical, honest, real-world guidance for successfully navigating common HR career challenges, Martin Yate's new book, The HR Career Guide: Great Answers to Tough Career Questions, is available at the SHRMStore


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